Turns out it’s a really excellent time to become an appliance service technician. Not many people realize that this industry is booming in Canada. And there are tons of job opportunities—if you have the right skillset.
Last year, the Pre-apprenticeship Training (PAT) Institute partnered with Whirlpool Canada to help students prepare for all the jobs opening up in the appliance field.
Whirlpool can’t find enough qualified service technicians to hire—and PAT runs an appliance training program—so the partnership was a win-win for everyone.
Basically, Whirlpool Canada is providing PAT with all the latest training materials and techniques, plus a whole collection of Whirlpool appliances for students to learn on.
Their goal? To produce appliance service technicians who know Whirlpool’s products, and the latest electronic/diagnostic tools and techniques.
And then they hire the most skilled graduates from PAT’s program. Graduates like Christine Cunningham.
This week we interviewed Christine to find out why she chose appliance repair—and what life is like working for Whirlpool Canada.
Q: Christine, what made you choose the Appliance Service Technician program?
Christine: I first realized I wanted a career in the trades probably about 15 years ago, just after high school. Somehow, it took me a really long time to actually make a decision and just go for it.
In the end, I chose appliance repair because appliances are like puzzles, which I love doing. I love taking things apart, figuring out how they work, and all the small components involved in appliances. It’s a really fun challenge.
Q: How did you end up at the PAT Institute?
Christine: Actually, a family friend had heard of PAT and suggested it. That’s how I ended up studying there. I graduated from the Appliance Service Technician (AST) program in November, 2018.
Q: So, what was your favourite part of training…and what was the most challenging?
Christine: Definitely, my favourite part of training was getting to work on all the different appliances. I really enjoyed the hands-on training, and taking apart all the different kinds of units.
And for me, the most challenging part was overcoming little fears about using certain tools. But the deeper I got into the program, the less intimidated I felt.
Q: Did Whirlpool hire you straight out of the program? What was the process?
Christine: So, I finished the Appliance Service Technician program in November—and just a few weeks later I got hired by Whirlpool.
I had 3 meetings/interviews before being hired, though—they didn’t just hand me a job. They wanted to assess my skills and make sure I was a good fit for the company.
Like any job, you still have to go through a typical hiring process.
Q: What are you doing at Whirlpool? What’s a typical day for you?
Christine: I am currently working as a Whirlpool tech in the Milton warehouse doing refurbished units.
My job is to test each unit and make any repairs that are needed. I’m learning a lot, and hope to be out on the road doing service calls very soon!
Q: What do you think are the most important skills for Appliance Service Techs? How do you stand out and impress your managers?
Christine: I think there are 2 really important skills every service tech needs to do well. The first is creative problem solving—looking at problems from different angles, testing out different solutions, and finding the root cause of the issue.
And then there’s being open-minded, asking a lot of questions, and listening to ideas from other techs.
Just starting out, you don’t have all the answers. You can’t know everything. You need to learn from people around you, and always be looking for ways to improve your skills.
Q: What’s it like being a woman in this field? And how was it during training at PAT?
Christine: Being a woman technician has definitely been interesting. It’s a lot of physical hard work, and sometimes I find it challenging to keep up with the big strong guys in the field.
But I am very detail-focused and that’s a definite bonus. What I may lack in physical strength, I make up for in technical skills, so it all balances out.
As for being one of the only female students at PAT, I didn’t feel awkward or singled out in any way. It was actually a really fun learning experience.
Side note: There’s never been a better time for women to enter the skilled trades in Canada. You can get free money for training from the government, and employers are very motivated to hire female tradespeople.
Check out this blog post to learn more: Women in the Skilled Trades: Your Time Has Come!
Q: Any last words of advice for people considering this career?
Christine: Stop telling yourself you can’t do something. You probably can do it—if you just stop telling yourself you can’t. Just go for it. Ask questions, listen, be open minded, and have fun!
Thank-you, Christine, for talking to us this week! We’re so proud of your success, and wish you a long and happy career with Whirlpool Canada.
Want to learn more about Appliance Service Technician training?
Think you’d make a great appliance service technician, and want to learn more about training and careers? There are a few easy ways to get started.
First, you can check out this interview with Isaac Thomas, another PAT appliance student who was recently hired by Whirlpool: Meet Isaac Thomas: Appliance Technician Grad who Landed a Job at Whirlpool
Or, you can click below to request free information about PAT’s Appliance Service Technician Program.
Fill out the form to learn about admission requirements, class schedules, funding and financial aid, and much more. We’re here to help!
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